After some colonial luxury? Then try the afternoon tea at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, where you can choose from a classic, Khmer or tropical dining experience in the hotel’s beautiful conservatory.
Hidden behind the unassuming cream walls of the colonial-styled Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor is a luxurious, peaceful haven. A far fetch from the hustle and bustle of Siem Reap going about its business just outside, once through its doors the sound of motorbikes and hawkers is replaced by gentle laughter and piano music.
Welcomed by an extravagantly dressed doorman, when we entered the hotel it was like taking a step back in time to the height of colonial times in Cambodia. This is an era that Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor pays homage to throughout the hotel, with posters, photos and even some of the original hotel’s features – such as a shoe shining chair – found throughout its halls and central rooms.
Having acclimatised to the lobby’s cool air and refreshing atmosphere, Justin and I made our way across to the conservatory, one of several uniquely designed dining and drinking areas around the hotel. Straight away we were greeted by smiling staff and taken to our reserved table. Already set up for the afternoon tea, I loved how they used their super stylish, retro Raffles tea towels as table cloths (unsurprisingly available in the gift shop, damn I wish I’d bought one now!).
We had a great spot by the windows, perfect for people watching both inside and out as we could enjoy the view of the hotel’s grounds (random fact – this includes the biggest swimming pool in Cambodia!), so I settled in and took a look at the afternoon tea options on offer.
Afternoon tea at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor
The Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor actually offers an interesting selection of afternoon teas: the classic, a Khmer option or you could try out the ‘tropical’ offering. We decided to go with one classical tea and one Khmer tea and while we waited ordered our drinks.
Disappointingly Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor doesn’t offer a tea selection. Guest have the option of either loose leaf English Breakfast or freshly brewed coffee, but having spent a week with what this tea-loving Brit could only describe as mediocre morning cuppas, this high quality tea went down a treat. This was made even better by our lovely servers attentiveness to refilling our pot, meaning we probably drank more tea that afternoon than during the rest of our 11-night stay in Cambodia!
Classic and Khmer savoury dishes
It wasn’t long until our food arrived and we tucked in, trying out a little of everything on offer. The classic tea had small, hand-cut (no crusts) sandwiches with fillings of egg mayonnaise and spring onion, cucumber and cream cheese and smoked salmon. The salmon was a clear favourite for me: with the addition of capers these were super tasty treats even if each sandwich was just one mouthful!
By far the Khmer savouries were my favourite, however. Freshly cooked and still piping hot, this part of the Khmer afternoon tea is made up of spicy fried prawns, chicken satay skewers and sweet potato and taro purses. Fresh and delicious, these were devoured in no time.
Although we didn’t try the tropical afternoon tea ourselves we were able to take a glimpse at what was on offer, as our dining neighbours kindly let us wander over and take a look at theirs.
The tropical option
The tropical savouries were made up of an olive tapenade, a caramelised onion and tofu quiche and spice-rubbed chicken on a chilli-corn muffin. Moving onto the sweets, our neighbours were treated to fresh fruit salads, cinnamon carrot cake, boiled Asian sago pudding and pandan green steamed rice flour with yellow mung beans.
Keen to avoid food envy we moved back to our small but perfectly formed scones – one fruit and one plain each. These were tasty, even if there was sadly no ‘proper’ clotted cream and just the squirty variety (a regular find in Asia). When it came to the sweets, we were given a selection of lovely cakes and pastries. Both the chocolate brownie and madeleines were moist, but not sweaty – another issue related to tropical climates – which we were very impressed with, and we also enjoyed the coffee éclair and raspberry mousse with its chocolate sponge base. However, it was the white chocolate praline that raised our eyebrows – that gorgeously gooey centre was to die for!
Possibly an acquired taste?
These gentle flavours and soft textures were a real contrast to the Khmer desserts, which we decided were definitely an acquired taste.
Our bright and colourful tray of local treats included cold, fresh fruit and a steamed pumpkin cake, which was sweet and tasty, but I struggled with the texture, which reminded me of congealed, cold rice pudding. This sweet, glutinous theme endured throughout, meaning I enjoyed the flavours but personally didn’t get on with the texture, however, fans of Asian-style desserts are likely to love these dishes. All were beautifully displayed though, from the cute layer cake through to the crepe bursting with chunks of coconut and mango. The most wonderful of all though had to be the mung bean rose, which looked like a flower encased in plastic. In the end I left this until last as I was loathe to damage it!
Why you should experience Afternoon tea at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor
If you’re looking for some respite from the Cambodian heat and a more reserved and classic dining experience in Siem Reap, then afternoon tea at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor is a wonderful choice. The hotel has retained all its colonial beauty and its conservatory’s relaxed atmosphere is the perfect place to unwind after days of dust and tuk-tuks during your tours around the amazing Angkor temples.
With staff that are attentive yet not overbearing, they’re happy to cater the food to your personal requirements and you’re welcome to relax and stay for as long as you like. For visitors to Siem Reap and the Angkor Wat Archaeological Park I’d highly recommend visiting for a classic afternoon tea experience, or one with a local twist!
Afternoon tea is available in the Conservatory of Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor everyday from 2.30-5.30pm. Prices (in US Dollars) are at the time of writing $23 for the Khmer and Tropical Afternoon Teas, $25 for the Raffles Traditional Afternoon Tea and $35 for the Raffles Traditional Afternoon Tea with champagne.
Our afternoon tea at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor was complimentary for the purposes of review but as ever, all views are my own.